Unlikely as it may have seemed a week ago, the Colorado Avalanche are moving on.
The Calgary Flames’ second-best record in franchise history gave way to a five-game ouster as the Avalanche, who clinched a playoff spot in their second-to-last game, upset the Western Conference’s top finisher, winning Game 5 by a score of 5-1.
Mikko Rantanen and Colin Wilson each scored twice Friday in front of a stunned Saddledome crowd. Colorado is on to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2008.
“I love that our guys are getting rewarded for all their hard work and dedication and commitment,” coach Jared Bednar said after the game. “It feels really good to be able to move on and take on somebody else and keep this thing going.”
On the first goal, Nathan MacKinnon forced a turnover and raced into the zone. Tyson Barrie fired on net and Gabriel Landeskog tipped it for his first goal of the series on 20 shots.
Calgary star Johnny Gaudreau, with just an assist through four games, had chance after chance to throw his team a lifeline - none better than a penalty shot late in the first period. He tried to move to his backhand but Grubauer waited him out.
A minute and a half later, Gaudreau had another unsuccessful solo breakaway, and the Avalanche turned it around and made it 2-0. Rantanen located the puck behind the net and sent it in off goaltender Mike Smith (27 saves). Cale Makar registered his first pro assist with the primary helper.
TJ Brodie scored for the Flames with just under six seconds left in the period, a bright spot for the home crowd.
But the second period belonged to Wilson. Almost seven minutes in, turnover after turnover led to Rantanen feeding Wilson, who faced Smith head-on and sank a shot to make it 3-1. He scored later on the power play to put it away.
Rantanen added his ninth point of the series - he had multipoint efforts in all four Colorado wins - with a goal 57 seconds into the third period.
Gaudreau appeared to finally get his goal midway through the second period, but it was waved off as Philipp Grubauer (28 saves) was interfered with and lost his stick.
Colorado will get a break before facing the winner of the series between the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks. Vegas leads the series 3-2.